EU and Japan to collaborate on AI and chip supply chain.

European Union (EU) Commissioner Thierry Breton has hinted at the bloc’s intention to work more closely with Japan in its Artificial Intelligence (AI) and chips sector. According to the region’s industry chief, this move is part of the EU’s strategy to reduce its reliance on China in certain areas. Therefore, Breton planned to meet with Japanese government officials to discuss this agenda which has AI as a top priority.

“I will engage with [the] Japanese government … on how we can organize our digital space, including AI based on our shared value,” he said.

Their collaboration will specifically include monitoring the chip supply chain and boosting the exchange of researchers and engineers. At the same time, the EU will render support to Japanese semiconductor-inclined companies that would be interested in working within the tenets of the bloc. Notably, Japan is known to be a major player in the semiconductor supply chain ecosystem.

Speaking in Tokyo, the commissioner emphasized that the EU believes that it is important to secure the supply chain of semiconductors. Apart from the general desire of the EU to strengthen its semiconductor sector, Tokyo has also been looking to boost its domestic semiconductor industry. These semiconductors are useful in different product lines from cars to smartphones and even go as far as having some potential military applications.

He also highlighted an upcoming EU-Japan Digital Partnership Council which will touch on areas like quantum and high-performance computing.

South Korea recently made a similar alliance with the European Union where both nations agreed to collaborate on technologies such as AI and cybersecurity. All of these partnerships with top Asian countries that have strong technology sectors are geared towards the EU’s effort to “de-risk” China.

It is obvious that as the EU is retracting from China, it is also establishing several deep-rooted relationships with other countries in the area of technology.

Beyond EU: There’s a Global Boost in AI Pursuit

The EU is currently not the only region analyzing and reassessing its semiconductor supply chain sector.

Several other countries like the United States are reconsidering bringing semiconductor manufacturing back to their shores. Sometime in 2022, US President Joe Biden hinted at plans to impose stricter restrictions on semiconductors and chipmaking tool shipments to China. This was at the time the Commerce Department asked three US-based companies to stop sending semiconductors and chip-making equipment to China.

About two months ago, Great Britain also announced support of £1 billion (or $1.2 billion) at the time for its semiconductor industry. The fund is focused on boosting its domestic chipmaking capabilities and reducing its dependence on foreign players just like the United States and EU. Britain has already designed a 20-year strategy for semiconductors and is inking strategic partnerships to achieve its plans.